412

Kurt Rosenwinkel Standards Trio: Reflections

Greg Camphire By

Sign in to view read count
Kurt Rosenwinkel Standards Trio: Reflections A warm and understated trio record, Kurt Rosenwinkel's Reflections zeroes in on an approach to standard repertoire, marking an interesting career turn for the guitarist in the process. With support from drummer Eric Harland and bassist Eric Revis, the six-string innovator opens a window to another side of his playing, featuring quiet meditations on the blues, ballads, and swing.

It's a curious listening experience, coming long after Rosenwinkel has already established an original voice as a composer and player. The guitarist's previous five albums have largely featured his own songs, beginning with The Enemies of Energy (Verve, 2000) through The Remedy: Live at the Village Vanguard (ArtistShare, 2008). As pianist Ethan Iverson writes in Reflections' thoughtful liner notes, these albums—and Rosenwinkel's legendary 1990s live sets with saxophonist Mark Turner—created a buzz that made the guitarist one of the leading contemporary influences in jazz.

But Reflections also exists on its own, without all the much-deserved hype of Rosenwinkel's past discography. Investigating two tunes each by Thelonious Monk and Wayne Shorter, as well as three classic American Songbook selections, Rosenwinkel isn't necessarily making any grand statements here. He is, however, capturing a mood that displays what Iverson astutely calls "soulful distortion." Rosenwinkel digs deep to find the kernels of emotional truth in each composition, placing greater emphasis on the poetry of shape, texture, and narrative than the techniques of chords, meters, or harmonies.

The guitarist's buttery tone is smeared over the subtle accompaniment of his rhythm section mates, with all the tunes registering in either ballad range or an easy medium-low simmer. The latter is represented with a hip-hop take on Shorter's "Fall," where Harland provides a little bounce by doing his best Questlove impression, as the trio gives props to Rosenwinkel's Philadelphia roots.

A lengthy exposition of Monk's "Reflections" takes care to explore its subtle intricacies; the guitarist plays successive choruses that never stray too far from the pensive melody. Revis plucks out a short solo before the band takes the ballad into the kind of bright, walking mid-tempo that the composer favored. Similarly, Rosenwinkel stays faithful to the melody of "Ask Me Know," strumming with a unique sense of stuttered phrasing, showing the influence of Monk's spirit but never aping it.

Another smooth move is Rosenwinkel's inclusion of a standard of his own, "East Coast Love Affair," originally recorded on his debut album of the same name (Fresh Sound New Talent, 1996). It fits alongside the other material very well, reflecting the influence of the classic tunes on Reflections while retaining the guitarist's own personal conception.

Word of Mouth Music also does a nice job of packaging the CD release. The disc is made to look like an LP; and along with a simple yet attractive gatefold cover, it makes one wish they had put it out on vinyl to serve the old-school flavor of the music itself.


Track Listing: Reflections; You Go to My Head; Fall; East Coast Love Affair; Ask Me Now; Ana Maria; More Than You Know; You've Changed.

Personnel: Kurt Rosenwinkel: guitar; Eric Revis: bass; Eric Harland: drums.

Year Released: 2010 | Record Label: Word of Mouth Music | Style: Straight-ahead/Mainstream


Shop

More Articles

Read Akua's Dance CD/LP/Track Review Akua's Dance
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: February 21, 2017
Read Daylight Ghosts CD/LP/Track Review Daylight Ghosts
by Mark Sullivan
Published: February 21, 2017
Read Live at PafA CD/LP/Track Review Live at PafA
by Matthew Aquiline
Published: February 21, 2017
Read Ocean of Storms CD/LP/Track Review Ocean of Storms
by Troy Dostert
Published: February 21, 2017
Read Transparent Water CD/LP/Track Review Transparent Water
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: February 20, 2017
Read Billows Of Blue CD/LP/Track Review Billows Of Blue
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: February 20, 2017
Read "ReNew" CD/LP/Track Review ReNew
by Tyran Grillo
Published: April 11, 2016
Read "Intermetallic Compounds" CD/LP/Track Review Intermetallic Compounds
by Karl Ackermann
Published: March 18, 2016
Read "A Missing Shade of Blue" CD/LP/Track Review A Missing Shade of Blue
by C. Michael Bailey
Published: July 22, 2016
Read "Take Me To The Alley" CD/LP/Track Review Take Me To The Alley
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: April 10, 2016
Read "Alien Flower Sutra" CD/LP/Track Review Alien Flower Sutra
by Karl Ackermann
Published: May 24, 2016
Read "Everybody Has A Plan Until They Get Punched in the Mouth" CD/LP/Track Review Everybody Has A Plan Until They Get Punched in the Mouth
by Doug Collette
Published: August 15, 2016

Post a comment

comments powered by Disqus

Sponsor: ECM Records | BUY NOW  

Support our sponsor

Support All About Jazz's Future

We need your help and we have a deal. Contribute $20 and we'll hide the six Google ads that appear on every page for a full year!

Buy it!